Tag Archive | Furniture

Christopher Chiappa’s Compositions at Kate Werble Gallery

Front Room Installation View
All Photos By Gail

When last we visited Kate Werble Gallery for one of sculptor Christopher Chiappa’s immersive exhibits, the place was covered wall-to-wall, floor-to-celing with Fried Eggs, and that was a good time. For his fourth exhibition at the gallery, Chiappa has installed in its front and back rooms two collections of what, on first glance, appear to be brightly colored, painted wooden tables. On closer examination, however, the at once familiar table shapes of Chiappa’s sculptures transmute and metamorphose into increasingly whimsical and delightful forms as you progress through the galleries. It’s a hoot.

Front Room Partial Install

With this show, Chiappa attempts a reset from past projects by returning to the most fundamental elements of abstraction: geometric shapes, solid colors, and line. His Compositions are made slowly, by hand; and his use of bright color serves to emphasize the assembly. The junctures between individual planes of wood are heightened by the sharp transitions in opposing colors and forms.

Blue Table

This one is my favorite. I think because of the Pink leg.

Red and Yellow Stacking

Mondrian Table

These works operate firmly within the gap of the simile. In color, shape, and temperament, they metabolize a succession of art historical reference points: Suprematism, Constructivism, Bauhaus, and Memphis Group. Like the Suprematists, for example, Chiappa uses the language of non-objective abstraction. However, instead of seeking to transcend the material world, he purposefully goes the wrong way around; he directs these forms back to the familiar.

Rainbow Table

Turquoise Table Set

As the tables become more abstract, you can play a fun game coming up with ideas of what the shapes remind you of.

Fed Ex Table

In this one, the use of Orange and Purple reminds me of the Fed Ex logo!

Bicycle Table

This one reminds me of deconstructed version of a child’s Tricycle.

Twisty Table

The Red Shape at the top of this one looks like a Fish trying to swim away. If you add in that Black Shape to the lower left, it could also be a Chicken.

Tangled Sculpture 2

In this, I see a group of friends of different races playing a game of One Potato Two Potato. See? Lots of fun. And I was by myself, so imagine how much more interesting it could be if you see the show with a friend.

Now lets check out the back room, where things get weirder.

Rear Gallery Installation View 2

Chiappa’s Compositions evolve without foreseen conclusion, evidence that repetition leads not to sameness but to difference. The early works remain closest to the basic form, and they gradually deviate further from the original. Though the parameters and materials remain the same, the final sculptures feel far removed from the first. The result is an autonomous object whose symbolic reference point has broken down altogether.

Target Table

I see a big Target.

Target Legs

Look at all those Legs!

Rocking Sculpture

Sculpture Collection

Blue Spire Sculpture

Blue Table Sculpture

Stacking E Tables

Compositions is a really fun exhibit, espcially for fans of minimalists like Ellsworth Kelly and modern furniture design. And you still hove lots of time to check it out!

Christopher Chiappa’s Compositions Will be on Exhibit Through June 2nd, 2018 at Kate Werble Gallery, Located at 83 Vandam Street, Soho, NYC.

Rear Gallery Installation View
Rear Gallery Installation View

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Grant Wood Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Grant Wood Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Photos By Gail

Grant Wood designed this Lounge Chair and Ottoman in 1938 for his own living room. Henry R. Lubben, a Cedar Rapids furniture maker, manufactured the design in a variety of fabrics, with or without tasseled fringe, and sold it in department stores throughthe Midwest as the Grant Wood Lounge Chair.

In 1939, Riverdale Fabrics commissioned Wood to create a textile for them based on his 1932 painting Spring Plowing (textile design seen framed, top image). Wood died before this design went into production and the fabric was never made.

Grant Wood Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, on View Through June 10th, 2018 at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District, NYC.

Eye On Design: Current Chair By Vivian Beer

Current Chair By Vivian Beer
All Photos By Gail

The dynamic, curvilinear design of the Current Chair (2004) by Vivian Beer seems to defy the strength and hardness of the steel from which it is made. Historically, few women have worked in metal other than to fashion jewelry, and fewer still have made metal furniture.

Current Chair By Vivian Beer

About her innovative design Beer remarked, “I wanted this chair to seem as if it had been cut and crushed out of a single sheet of metal. At the same time, I wanted it to feel as fast and clean as water its silhouette . . .The balance and the trickery are important.” The chair’s title suggests that the artist’s choice of  the color blue alludes to swiftly moving water.

Current Chair By Vivian Beer

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

Eye On Design: Kyoto Table By Shiro Kuramata

Kyoto Table
Photos By Gail

Born in Tokyo in 1934, Shiro Kuramata studied at the city’s polytechnic high school and Kuwsawa Design School. He revolutionized design in postwar Japan by considering the relationship between form and function, adhering to minimalist ideas but embracing surrealism as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kuramata began to use new technologies and industrial materials. He was inspired by Ettore Sottsass and joined the Memphis Group at its founding in 1981.

Kyoto Table Detail
Kyoto Table, Detail

The Kyoto Table (1983) is an example Kuramata’s innovative use of concrete and glass to create minimalist form with surface interest. Kuramata’s furniture and interiors have been influential both is his native country and abroad.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye On Design: Cabinet De Curiosité By Shiro Kuramata

Cabinet De Curiosite 2
All Photos By Gail

Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991) a member of The Memphis Group and among the most innovative designers of the late twentieth century, was fascinated by the visual possibilities of acrylic. The artist stated that his ideal objective was to see objects floating in air. Named for the Wunderkammern owned by Renaissance princes that displayed natural and man-made curiosities, Cabinet De Curiosité (1988) offers the magical impression of suspending its contents in midair. Kuramata explored the phenomenological effects of acrylic — light and lightness, invisibility and reflectivity, weight and weightlessness – and the material has become the poetic signature of his work. Kuramata used the term Neiro, or “sound-color,” to describe the synesthetic effect that acrylic has it both its physical presence and the spectral color-shadows it casts as light passes through it. Its prismatic luminosity changes with light and viewpoint, exploiting the optical effects of the material. Shown here alongside Flower Vase #3 (1989).

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye on Design: Ettore Sottsass, Yellow Furniture

Ettore Sottsass Yellow Furniture
All Photos By Gail

Cross-shaped and studded with golden dots, Ettore Sottsass’ Yellow Furniture reads as an homage to Otto Wagner’s Steinhof Church, which is also cruciform in plan and features golden dots as the leitmotif. Both Yellow Furniture and the Steinhof Church transfer religious concepts into material form, specifically the spiritual association in Christian iconography of gold as a material and symbol of the heavens. Consistent with Christian ideals, Sottsass intended this piece for production by Indian craftsman as a way of addressing the poverty he witnessed during his travels.

Otto Wagner Steinhof Church Plan Drawings
Otto Wagner Steinhof Church Photos and Plan Drawings

Ettore Sottsass Yellow Furniture
Installation View

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC. as part of the Exhibit, Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical.

Eye On Design: Carved Rosewood Sofa By John Henry Belter

Rosewood Sofa
All Photos By Gail

In the mid- 1800s, German immigrant John Henry Belter was New York City’s most important cabinetmaker, producing Rococo Revival style furniture for the luxury market. Belter garnered an international reputation for the suites of drawing-room furniture he manufactured, many of laminated and deeply carved rosewood. This large and exuberant sofa, embellished with bountiful carved bouquets of naturalistic blooms, epitomizes his best work. The modern damask covering was chosen because fragments of the original dark red sill upholstery were found on the sofa’s frame during recent conservation

Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Rosewood Sofa Installation View
Installation View